Saturday 31 January 2015

Dismal day at The Valley

It was a cold, wet miserable day and the football did nothing to warm any hearts. Neither Charlton nor Rotherham played particularly well, but after both sides had hit the woodwork, and the Millers had had a goal ruled offside, Charlton went ahead through a Jordan Cousins goal, only to surrender the lead in time added on.

We were too slow in building up our attacks and gave away possession too easily. The two banks of four were played too deep, leaving the forwards isolated. The first ten minutes of the game were very poor, we had hardly any possession at all.

We did get better in the second half. However, the subs Rotherham brought on made a difference, not least Dean Ward who scored. Crystal Palace charm merchant Hunt also came on and indulged in a spectacular dive. The Millers are convinced that they had a penalty shout for handball. The only Miller I know has been in Hanoi this week, so no doubt there will be dancing in the streets of the Vietnam capital.

We have now slipped one more place and are only six points above Millwall, who won at Forest, in the relegation places. We are in a battle, but I am not sure we have the fight for it, for all of Guy Luzon's elaborate gesticulations on the touchline.

Patrick Collins signs off his long career as a football reporter from Charlton, stating that he fears that 'the worst is on the way': Patrick Collins

He draws attention to the fans chanting 'You don't know what you're doing' at Luzon. This was in response to Vetokele being taken off, but it seemed to me and those around me that Igor was less than fully match fit. However, one has to admire the irony of the Covered End choir singing 'Roland, Roland, make a sub.

Luzon was talking afterwards of getting another two players in, but he didn't seem too hopeful. Whether we shall get the much needed target man remains to be seen.

Player ratings

Dmitrovic has a powerful and accurate kick out, although some times he kicked it too far to the opposing keeper. But it's better than we have seen all season. The defence let him down for the goal and he made one spectacular finger tip save which brought some people to their feet to applaud. Bikey does seem to be improving again after a poor patch, but his attempt to score from a corner went not too far over. Ben Haim did his job competently enough, although he did find dealing with Sammon in the air a challenge. Solly was excellent, contributing very effectively in defence and attack. Wiggins was running up and down vigorously before kick off, but he is still a shadow of his former self and he was at fault for the goal.

Buyens did his best to get involved, but his strong surges from midfield lacked an end product. Cousins took his goal well and was generally very active, although sometimes he seems to lose concentration at a key moment. Second half was better than the first. Veljokic is a very defensive midfielder. Gudmundsson saw his shot hit the post twice and it was his blocked shot that led to the goal. Harriott is prepared to run at the opposition defence, although he often ran into a dead end. He found more space in the second half which he tried to exploit, but he is not a striker. He is also rather lightweight and gets forced off the ball too easily by northern lumps. Vetokele tried hard, but it was difficult for him to burst through from defence and get past the defenders. He needs ball in the box.

Watt, Watt, Watt was the chant of the Covered End as they urged his introduction and he certainly has something about him. He needs the full 90 minutes to show what he can do. Christophe provided the assist for the goal, but otherwise was woeful. He gave the ball away dangerously twice when he should have lumped it out of defence towards the end of the match. Gomez put in a great tackle in his cameo.

Friday 30 January 2015

Millers look forward to overtaking Charlton

Rotherham United are looking forward to overtaking Charlton in the Championship by taking all three points at The Valley tomorrow. They have strengthened their squad by bringing in right back Jack Hunt from Palace.

A calf injury makes Johnnie Jackson a doubtful starter for the Addicks, but new signing Christophe Lepoint is in the squad.

Rotherham have won five of the last six meetings, drawing the other. Charlton's last win was 2-0 at The Valley in the old Division Three in November 1980. Rotherham won the last meeting at The Valley 5-1 in the old Division Two in November 1982.

The Addicks have not won any of their last 11 games in all competitions, losing six of them. Their last win was 1-0 at Reading in the Championship on 8 November. They have not scored a goal in the league in five hours of play. They have not won any of their last seven home games in all competitions, losing three. Their last win at The Valley was 2-1 against Bolton in the Championship on 21 October.

However, the away form of the Millers is not great. The Millers have won only one of their last 12 away games in all competitions. Their only win on the road since August was 2-1 at Wigan in the Championship on 20 December. Does this look like another draw?

Odds are: Charlton 6/4, Draw 23/10, Rotherham 15/8. Referee Scott Duncan from Northumberland is unlikely to show any favours to southern softies.

The CAS Trust preview focuses on the Millers' manager combative charm merchant Steve Evans. However, Guy Luzon may be more than a match for him: CAS Trust Preview

Massive takeover

Sheffield Wednesday have been taken over by a Thai tuna tycoon. The new owners are expected to aggressively fund a bid to gain promotion to the Premiership: Sheffield Wedensday.

It makes our network model look a bit down market.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

C'est Christophe Lepoint

30-year old midfielder Christophe Lepoint is the latest recruit to London's Belgian club. AA Gent have agreed the transfer and he is even now believed to be on the way to the Gare du Nord to catch Eurostar: Christophe chooses the Addicks

Lepoint did appear in the Belgian national team in 2010 and scored a goal. However, in 2011 he suffered serious injuries in a car accident. He fell asleep in the passenger seat of a car being driven by a team mate whom, it was alleged, had been drinking alcohol.

A Gent supporter has commented on Twitter, 'It saddens me to see him go. He never stops working, he never backs down and he is as strong as an ox.'

Further comments from the Gent fan: 'His good points are: he works hard, is a team player, great mentality, lots of experience, rather good with the head, is box-to-box, a good bloke that you can rely on. Weaker points: speed (especially in the first metres) and technical skills (really modest). He couldn't reach the necessary level for Belgian top football anymore because of his weak points, that is why he had to leave.'

'The fans really liked the guy and his personality, but his speed and skills had become insufficient, especially in games against Anderlecht, Bruges... he is the physical, hard working kind of player midfield most of the time, but also useful in the heart of the defence if necessary, useful, but don't expect great skills... Better than Buyens? No - physically tougher, technically weaker. Lepoint had never been the same as he was before his car accident.'

'Luzon will know him very well of course. Lepoint should be OK for the level of the Championship, I guess. In his better years: more attacking, he used to score quite a lot as a midfielder. In his latter years: more useful in defence (lacks the speed and skills for the attack) - I would put him as a central defender actually, because of his experience. Don't give him the ball too much [!].'

Unconfirmed reports are circulating on the internet that Callum Harriott could be loaned out to Portsmouth. According to the Sparrows Lane tea lady, this would be part of a deal to sign leading goal scorer Jed Wallace, but at present this report has to be treated as highly speculative.

Rotherham win brings new bout of doom and gloom

Rotherham's 4-2 win over Bolton last night has brought a new bout of doom and gloom among some of the Addickted. If Derek from Dymchurch wasn't occupied with campaigning for Ukip, he would have gone into overdrive.

Bolton were no doubt affected by their exertions in securing a draw at Liverpool. As for Rotherham, although their confidence will have got a boost, they may now be over confident and Charlton may be able to grind the Millers down.

After last Saturday's draw at Wolves, there were a lot of gloomy comments about individual players. However, if you look at the Football League Paper scores, a different picture emerges. The lowest score was 6 for Veljkovic on his Addicks debut. Tal Ben Haim got a rare 9 for single handedly dealing with every ball Wolves threw into the box. Everyone else got a 7, apart from the much criticised Morgan Fox who 'dealt well with La Parra, one crucial second half block epitomising a solid display.' So perhaps things aren't as bad as everyone thinks.

Top fan Jonathan Acworth doesn't think so. He has been in touch with Britain's wealthiest man, the Duke of Westminster, whom he proclaims to be a Charlton fan and ready to invest in the club.

However, this may be a smoke screen. Now identified as a royal descendant, and in receipt of a letter from the Queen, Acworth's real target may be the Duke of Edinburgh. It is a little known fact that among his many titles is Baron Greenwich. He just has to be an Addick.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Shrimpers boss wants Pigott to stay

Southend boss Phil Brown wants Joe Pigott to stay at the club until the end of the season after he scored two goals in three games. He is currently on a 28 day loan: Pigott

Pigott has his admirers at The Valley and he has shown before he can perform against League 2 defences. For his development it would probably be best to let him stay at Roots Hall. In a worst case scenario he might be required at The Valley at League 1 level next season!

Monday 26 January 2015

Defender set to catch Eurostar

Charlton are in advanced talks to take French central defender Naby Sarr on loan from Sporting Lisbon: Naby Sarr

More about Sarr here: Man for the big occasion

Reports from Spain are linking us with 26-0year old central defender Hector Rodas who plays for Levante UD. I would not say that his career has been stellar: Hector Rodas

Visionary coach or shameless nepotist?

That is the question posed by the Football League Paper in their profile of Guy Luzon. The picture emerges is a rather mixed one, but it looks like being a bumpy ride.

Perceptions of him in Israel are influenced by the unpopularity of his Libyan-born uncles Ami and Amos who control top flight club Petah Tikva. Journalist Alon Sinai told the FLP, 'his image in his homeland remains that of a master manipulator who owes his status to his connections rather than his talents.' Luzon himself said, 'I met with senior sports writers who told me they know how much I mean to my uncles - that's why they did hatchet jobs on me.'

After Luzon had a short and unspectacular career in Israel's lower divisions which was ended by injury uncle Amos appointed him manager of Tikva at the age of just 26. He led Tikva to second in the table and secured European qualification. He then went to fallen giants Happel Tel Aviv, but was sacked after just five months. He then joined Briei Yahuda and secured consecutive top three finishes and qualification for the group stages of the Europa League.

'The criticism of Luzon is not always right,' said journalist Ron Amikam. 'He was very close to his players at Tikva and they all liked him.'

Luzon is a fan of rotating players, Tal Ben Haim commenting, 'I've never seen anything like the amount of rotation Luzon uses, even at Chelsea.' [That's all very well if one has a squad with the depth and quality of Chelsea, but carries considerable risks at Charlton.]

According to Amikam, Luzon has a volatile temperament: 'He does not always communicate well, especially with the media. He can be very arrogant and does not stand criticism. In additional, he can be very emotional.' So we can expect some interesting press conferences and a few touchline incidents.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Charlton are a second rate Watford

That is the claim made by the Football League Paper makes today in article illustrated by a cartoon of the now famous revolving door at The Valley. The network model can work, the paper argues, if it is done properly, as it is at Watford, but not at Charlton.

The paper reckons that Roland Duchatelet saw Watford's 'foreign loanees waltz through the Championship. He saw them change managers with no apparent dip in performance. He saw them pushing for the Premier League and saw the riches at the end of the rainbow. He thought, "I'll have some of that.'"' [I'm not sure that Roland has ever given a moment's thought to Watford, but the argument is interesting nevertheless].

'Unfortunately, he failed to factor in some crucial differences. Like the fact that Pozzo also owns Udinese and Granada. One play in Serie A. The other is in La Liga. Or that the Italian employs more dedicated scouts than any other owner in world football. Not only is that a powerful, well-connected network, it has also been running like clockwork for 20 years. The upshot is a pool of players that Watford - or any other Championship club - could under normal circumstances neither attract nor afford.'

Listing Roland's clubs, the FLP says, 'Equating that ropey stable to Pozzo's resources is like comparing Steptoe and Son's backyard to a Swiss bank vault. Is it any wonder that almost every player Duchatelet has imported has proved unfit for purpose? This season has shown signs of improvement, but it is not like Yoni Buyens or an ageing Tal Ben Haim would walk into any Championship team.'

'Duchatelet's formative system has nothing to offer Charlton. That's not to say it won't in the future. The theory is proven. Right now Charlton need either investment in players or - as is happening - youth development. But that will not bear fruit without stability.'

Noting that managers are Charlton are changed like a broken light bulb, the paper argues that Roland needs to stop aping Watford's tendency to jettison managers.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Solid performance gets Addicks an away point

Wolves managed to open up space on the Charlton left in an early attack. Vetokele’s early attempts to get involved were unfruitful. Vetokele tried to make a pass to Harriott but was tackled from behind.

Bikey tackled well to stop a Wolves attack after Gudmundsson had his foot stamped on which drew no interest from referee d’Urso. Morgan Fox had to clear a Wolves attack. A free kick for Wolves created danger and Ben Haim had to intervene twice.

Cousins burst forward well as the two forwards were marked out of the game. Buyens defended well as Wolves counter attacked.

Wolves got the first corner of the game. Bikey made a good clearing header. Cousins threatened, but Wolves were able to intercept. A Wolves shot was blocked by Ben Haim.

Fox conceded a corner, but Ben Haim headed clear well. Harriott fed Solly, but he was blocked. Charlton were putting in some decent work and applying some pressure to Wolves. Luzon was very active on the edge of his technical area giving instructions.

Wolves tried to up the pressure, but Henry’s shot was off target. Harriott ran into the box but ended up leaving the ball behind. Wolves put in a header from a Henry free kick given away by Buyens that was not too far wide.

The ball drifted across the six yard box and it seemed as if it only needed a touch from Charlton. Morgan Fox was kicked in the face by Henry. Harriott was dragged down by Stearman and the charm merchant got the first yellow card of the game.

Dmitrovic came off his line and dived at the foot of the attacking player to make a good save. He then had to grab the ball to stop a threat developing. Wolves went past Bikey, but then he recovered at the expense of a corner. Vetokele headed the ball clear. Wolves won a corner in the minute added on.

HT: 0-0

Wolves made a double substitution after the break, having failed to obtain the expected lead in the first half. Ben Haim had to clear from an early Wolves attack. The corner was partially cleared by Solly and Bikey.

A Wolves free kick led to a corner which was cleared by Cousins. Ikeme had to parry a strike from Harriott at the expense of the first Charlton corner. The Addicks threatened again and won another corner.

<>A Cousins header went straight to Ikeme. Charlton were fighting for the 50-50 balls. Morgan Fox had to defend well. Vetokele and Harriott troubled Wolves and Stearman had to intervene. Vetokele got beyond Stearman and it needed an interception from Goulbourne. Solly took the corner.

Harriott came off and was not too happy after a good shift but Tony Watt came on. Fox had to make a good block at the expense of a Wolves corner. Watt powered at Wolves and put in a shot and Ikeme had to put it out for a corner.

Wolves got a lucky corner off Fox, but Charlton cleared. Vetokele, who had run himself into the ground, was replaced by Church.

Wolves were playing with more urgency as they looked for the winning goal. Veljkovic, who had played well, was replaced by Gomez. Dmitrovic had to make a good save.

Morgan Fox took a yellow card for the team as he brought down La Parra. Solly defended well from the free kick. Bikey lost his man and Ben Haim had to intervene. Jordan Cousins was being hit by cramp after a great shift, but he still managed to win a corner for Charlton in the last minute of normal time.

Three minutes were added on. Wolves counter attacked from the corner, but Buyens did enough. Watt got away from two players, but eventually lost out. Wolves attacked, but good work by Charlton saw the move end in a goal kick.

There was trouble between Dicko and Ben Haim after the former had dived for a penalty. Bikey got involved and received a yellow card. Charlton had played with commitment and determination. It was an improvement on the performance against Watford who were beating Blackpool 7-2. It certainly wasn't the drubbing the doom and gloom merchants were expecting.

Friday 23 January 2015

New boss bounce could confound Wolves

On the face of it tomorrow's game between Wolves and Charlton looks like an easy three points for the home side. However, commentators in the Midlands fear 'a new boss bounce': New boss bounce

Pessimistic Charlton fans have already decided that Luzon will be thrown to the Wolves, writing him off as incompetent before he has had charge of a single game. Much the same was said about Riga when he took over from Chris Powell. Many fans hoped that Luzon would not get his work permit which was never going to happen given the political ramifications of such a decision.

Wolves are very much looking back up the table having ended their poor slump in form. The hosts have picked up 16 of the last 18 points available in the league, conceding just two goals in those six games to get their playoff challenge back on track. They now sit only one point adrift of the top six and, with two of the three teams directly above them in the table playing each other this weekend, Kenny Jackett's side will have a chance to close the gap.

Wolves are aiming for a fifth straight win in the second tier for the first time since 2008, and with three more teams currently in the bottom half to come in their immediate fixtures after this one, they will fancy their chances of extending that run even further.

Indeed, so high is confidence at Molineux that they think they could still win the title: We are going up

Wolves have won two of the last three meetings at Molineux, drawing the other. Charlton's last win there was a 4-0 triumph in the Premier League in August 2003.

I won't judge Luzon on the basis of one tough match, especially when he has had little time to prepare the team. I remain unenthusiastic about the appointment, but he is now the head coach and I want him to succeed. Come on you Reds!

One possible concern is that the banker from Billericay, Andy d'Urso, is referee. I don't think he has it in for Charlton, he is just a poor decision maker who will spoil the game. I will be surprised if there are 22 players on the pitch at the end of the match.

Odds are: Wolves 4/6, Draw 5/2, Charlton 9/2.

This is probably a forlorn hope, as I doubt whether he has strayed to SE7, but if anyone has seen Leamington's cardboard dog mascot Nimrod could they let me know as he is needed in the fight against relegation at Stockport County tomorrow: Where is Nimrod?

Thursday 22 January 2015

Charlton and Blackpool in battle for Grant Ward

Charlton and Blackpool are in a tussle for the signature of young Spurs midfielder Grant Ward on loan for the rest of the season. Ward is eager to get first team football, but whether he prefers the donkeys of Blackpool remains to be seen: Grant Ward

Ward made a favourable impression at Chicago Fire with his lively play and they would like him back, but admit that he is likely to stay on this side of the pond: Chicago on fire

Charlton are also being linked with Yeovil captain Joe Edwards. The full back is also attracting interest from Birmingham City and Bristol City: Joe Edwards

I think that what we really need are one or two experienced Championship players, by which I do not mean clapped out or over the hill journeymen. We can but dream.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Charlton interested in Marc-Antoine Fortune

Both Charlton and Ipswich are interested in Wigan Athletic's Marc-Antoine Fortune. The 33-year old is out of contract in the summer, so he would be cheap and is not a key part of the Wigan side. However, as this report notes, he is a provider rather than a goal scorer so, if he comes, don't expect him to add much to our tally: Fortune

Is Curbs the new Elvis?

Reports that Curbs has been seen at The Valley need to be taken with a large pinch of salt. Either they are the product of wishful thinking or a decision to start a rumour that might cheer us all up.

However, given that the regime seem to be at sea on footballing matters, particularly concerning the requirements of the Championship, it would be an encouraging sign if Katrien talked to Curbs to get some advice. Even better, although appointing Curbs as a manager would not be a good idea given its 'back to the future' nature and the time he has been out of management, there could be another role for him.

He couldn't be director of football as the recruitment function is already being filled. However, he could occupy the slot he did at Fulham as 'technical advisor', i.e., advising on tactics and team selection. Admittedly, at Fulham he was described as the lonely man in the stands, but I am sure he could make a more active contribution at his old stamping grounds at Sparrows Lane and The Valley. On his brief stay at Fulham see the earlier report here: Curbs at Fulham

I am grateful to those who have explained the technicalities associated with Guy Luzon getting a work permit. However, I do not think that potentially high profile cases like this one are purely rule driven. They become much more political, although admittedly the club's political influence is not what it was. Nevertheless, it does seem unlikely that this can be sorted by Saturday and the uncertainty is doing us no good.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Royal lifeline for Charlton?

The Addicks may have help from the royal family with their plight after top fan Jonathan Acworth discovered that he has royal blood. He has written to the royal household to claim his prerogatives.

The Charlton crown jewel has been contacting wealthy individuals in the last few days to see if they would be interested in investing in the club. Should Acworth receive the title of Duke of Greenwich or possibly Count of Charlton, this would enhance his credibility.

Alternatively, he might ask Prince Andrew if any of his business associates would like to help out.

It will be recalled that the late Queen Mother was a Gooner, while the Duke of Cambridge supports Aston Villa. His wife may support Reading which is the team for Berkshire and also has an appropriate nickname.

Milos Veljkovic in on loan?

The rumour mill is linking Milos Veljkovic with Charlton for a possible loan spell. The 19-year old Tottenham Hotspur player has recently returned to White Hart Lane after a successful loan at Middlesbrough. He is a defender-midfielder, born in Switzerland, but qualifies for Serbia: Career details

Monday 19 January 2015

Tucudean to return home?

A number of Romanian sites are claiming that George Tucudean may be about to return to his native heath. I don't have any knowledge of Romanian, but as far as I can work out, Steaua Bucharest are interested and Dinamo have said they are not interested: Tucudean

Reports from Romania in the last hour (Tuesday morning) suggest that a loan deal has been confirmed. A transfer deal involving a fee is expected to be agreed in the summer (this will be a fee paid to Charlton rather than Charlton giving Steaua an offloading payment).

There have not yet been any reports of fans gathering at The Valley and rending their shirts.

Peeters speaks out: 'Ik werd op handen gedragen'

Bob Peeters has reacted to his dismissal from Charlton. He said that he was very disappointed. "What kind of person is Katrien Meire? I ask myself now. In the beginning we could work well together, but I regularly reacted against her. The fans also saw that reinforcements were needed," says Peeters.

He thinks that the club was exaggerating the extent of the problems. "There were clear goals in the beginning of the season. This season we had to have a quiet season with a very young team. We were thirteenth with 31 points. The results were less good the last weeks, I admit."

Promises were however made to Peeters. "When two days before your resignation they guarantee you that you can stay, it is strange that you get sacked on Sunday." Difficulties with English staff members seem to have been a trigger.

"It is strange that nothing was said to me. Strange that an assistant can ultimately determine the fate of the head coach." Normally Peeters would never respond after a lay off. "Now I make an exception, because things have appeared [in the press] that are not right. I was hailed by players and fans."

Some players will now have to collaborate again with Guy Luzon, the man who didn’t need them at Standard. "Some of them are not at all satisfied, but that’s none of my business anymore," said the disgruntled Peeters.

Original text here: Flemish version

Sunday 18 January 2015

Shell shocked

That's the only way to describe my reaction to yesterday's defeat at Watford. I didn't feel able to write anything yesterday. Needless to say, we are now bottom of the form table.

I didn't expect to win at Watford after the events of last week, but what was evident was that the players were completely demoralised. Earlier in the season we had a rock hard defence, but Bikey and Talal Ben Haim both had poor games. Ben Haim has, of course, been associated with rumoured moves to Israeli clubs and to Celtic.

The last 5-0 defeat was at West Ham on Boxing Day in the Premier League. According to Matt Wright in the last Voice of the Valley Curbs couldn't be stopped writing about it in the programme for months afterwards, so humiliated did he feel.

'Luzon: I'm no Valley Fall Guy is the headline in today's Football League Paper. He says, 'In professional football you must get results and if you don't have the ability and the quality to bring the result, you must go home. Football is my life, it's my passion and I will do everything I can to bring a lot of passion to create a result. I hope that when every game has finished, the fans know that Charlton have worked 100 per cent and given everything.'

Unfortunately, it may need a bit more than passion but also some strengthening of the squad from outside the network. Hopefully, Roland will have realised this while watching the live stream in his bunker.

Fans are understandably demoralised and, unfortunately, divided. We have had some dark days at Charlton, but all we can do is try and rally round.

Saturday 17 January 2015

The work permit issue

I was unenthusiastic about Guy Luzon's appointment as Charlton coach (I would have preferred to see Riga come back), but now he is here I would like to see him get on with the job and see what he can do. Hence the failure to obtain a work permit is a setback and does not reflect well on the club. Katrien, by the way, is a competition lawyer which is a very different area of law from immigration law.

Brian Haines gives his views on the situation here: Not a lawyer

One thing I do know is Luzon does have a Governing Body Endorsement which is a necessary condition for obtaining a work permit. He did have a work permit in Belgium, so an interesting situation would arise if another member state refused one, although I do not know what European case law there is on this. The principle of freedom of movement applies just to EU citizens, but there may be some spill over from it.

In any event, fans should be careful what they wish for when they hope that visa issues may forestall Luzon's appointment. There would be a delay in appointing a replacement and goodness knows who we would get.

Watford have a doubt over striker Fernando Forestieri (hamstring), while defenders Gabriel Tamas (cruciate) and Joel Ekstrand (back) are ruled out. Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes will have a late fitness test but should play after being taken off last week. Yoni Buyens and Callum Harriot are back from suspension.

The bookies are not very enthusiastic about our prospects at Watford. Odds are: Watford 4/6, Draw 13/5, Charlton 5/1. Our record against Watford is, however, relatively good: we have won three of the last four meetings.

Friday 16 January 2015

Jewell was contender for Charlton job

Tony Pulis has revealed that Paul Jewell was one of the contenders for the vacancy at Charlton: Paul Jewell

Reliable sources are indicating that Jewell was one of the short listed candidates. It is not clear whether candidates were interviewed or there was simply a sift of applications.

In a number of ways Jewell - if he had been appointed - would have been the polar opposite of Luzon. He knows English football, especially the Championship. He won three promotions with Bradford and Wigan and got the latter to the League Cup Final.

Admittedly, his standing has waned somewhat as he was unsuccessful at his last two clubs (Derby and Ipswich) and has been out of the game for the last couple of years. However, he would have been an interesting choice, although his linguistic skills in French and Flemish are unknown.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Katrien: this is how it is

The following report appeared in this evening's Sub-Standard:

'Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire admits she understands fans' frustration but has told them to accept owner Roland Duchatelet's way of running the club. Some supporters are unhappy with the appointment of Guy Luzon and have criticised Meire on social media, claiming she "lied" about the process of his arrival. Meire released a statement after Bob Peeters was sacked last week and said Charlton had not earmarked a new head coach before his dismissal.

But some fans believe Luzon, who worked under Duchatelet at Standard Liege before the owner axed him in October, had been lined up. They also fear Duchatelet is running Charlton like a business and not a football club. The Belgian moves players and coaches within his network of European teams and is rarely seen at The Valley.

But Meire has defended Duchatelet and the appointment of Luzon and has called for patience. She also admits it is up to the club to prove that Duchatelet's business model can be successful. "Of course I can understand their frustration and they have every right to be [frustrated]," she said. "But I hope they understand the owner wants the best for Charlton. He does it his way and they need to accept that.

"They will not always agree with our decisions. No fans in the world will always agree with the decisions of the board. I always try to take into account the fans, but sometimes you have to make hard decisions. We are investing in Charlton. I feel the fans sometimes forget that. At the moment, they only notice the results on the pitch. But it is not only in the squad we are investing in. We are going to build a training ground and build for the future.

"We do not want Charlton to lose their identity. We want success for Charlton and they need to be patient. We have improved a lot from last year and it is up to us to prove to the fans that we do not only want to bring in imports from Standard Liege."

Luzon is Charlton's fourth manager in a year and Meire now wants stability. "I would like him to be the next Sir Alex Ferguson," said the Belgian, who says the immediate aim is to make Charlton competitive in the Championship. "I know people are a bit worried about the instability. But our recent actions have shown a sense of decisiveness and I hope that Guy will stay for a long time."

On criticism of the way Duchatelet is running Charlton, Meire said: "It is important to find a balance - the reality is that a football club is a business. But every decision I make is judged by thousands of people, which is different from any other business."

Luzon was due to meet the players and take training for the first time today and he has held discussions with Meire about plans for the transfer window.'

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Luzon unfazed by Charlton challenge

Guy Luzon is unfazed by the challenge of managing Charlton despite the rapid turnover of managers at The Valley and the fact that he has already been given the boot once by Roland: The Calm Man

I am a bit surprised the claim that other candidates were interviewed given the speed of the appointment, but perhaps Acworth was given a cursory interview.

The Supporters' Trust have issued a statement expressing their disappointment at the way in which the managerial appointment was handled and presented to fans: Misleading?

Luzon will have a baptism of fire against Watford. It would have been a difficult fixture whoever was in charge.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Rickster gives it large

Ramsgate resident and Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt provides a typically trenchant and well-written analysis of the managerial changes at Charlton: Disgusted of Ramsgate

I think he is a bit hard on Katrien whose programme article was written before events unfolded, but I would agree that the fundamental problem has not been poor coaching or tactics but the thinness of the squad.

I don't think clubs benefit from being on a managerial merry go round, even if all the managers share the same nationality. However, there are a number of Charlton owners and managers I have had issues with in the past, not least the Glikstens. I hope that Luzon is a pleasant surprise (as Riga was). But he will need some financial backing if he is going to succeed.

For now he is the Charlton manager and, as such, has my backing and good wishes. I support the club which transcends any particular individual, whether owner or employee.

C'est Luzon avec Fraeye

Guy Luzon on Eurostar

Sources close to The Valley are claiming that Guy Luzon is to be appointed as the next coach with Karel Fraeye as his assistant. The Addickted have said that they he won't go on a Luzon streak, but you have to give the Guy a chance.

If the appointments go ahead it will be a coup for top fan Jonathan Acworth who was calling for the removal of Bob Peeters before his dismissal and his replacement by Luzon. Perhaps Acworth will be offered a role scouting non-league players for Charlton, so expect to see him at Cray Wanderers.

Luzon left Standard Liege after 18 months in charge in October after supporters rioted and demanded he was sacked following the club’s poor start to the season. Before his spell in Belgium, he spent three years as Israel Under-21 boss and he has also managed a number of clubs in Israel.

During his time in charge of Standard Liege, Luzon worked with Tony Watt, the former Celtic forward signed by Charlton last week. Watt has said he learned more in two months working under Luzon than he did in his final two years with Celtic.

Freedman in the frame

As speculation continues about the identity of the next Charlton manager, Dougie Freedman has moved up the rankings. The former Glazier was sacked at Bolton earlier in the season and would not be a popular choice among the Addickted: Freedman

With Damian Matthew and Ben Roberts placed in charge of preparations for the visit to Watford, a decision on the new coach may not be imminent.

Latest odds: Guy Luzon 6/4 (6/5) (1/4) Dougie Freedman 7/4 (7/2) (new) Karel Fraeye 9/4 (9/4) (4/1) Alan Curbishley 12/1 (16/1) (16/1)Damian Matthew 16/1 (16/1) (16/1) Brian McDermott 18/1 (16/1) (16/1) Jose Riga 18/1 (16/1) (16/1) Peter Taylor 20/1 (new) Tim Sherwood 20/1 (20/1) (16/1) Paulo Di Canio 25/1 (25/1) 25/1)Karl Robinson 28/1 (28/1) (20/1) Alex McLeish 28/1 (28/1) (20/1) Owen Coyle 28/1 (28/1) (25/1)Paul Jewell 28/1 (28/1) (25/1) Iain Dowie 28/1 (28/1) (20/1) Felix Magath 28/1 (28/1) (28/1) Rene Meulensteen 33/1 (33/1) (16/1) Roy Keane 33/1(33/1) (28/1) Martin Jol 40/1 (40/1) (20/1) Kit Symons 40/1 (40/1) (20/1).

Monday 12 January 2015

Curbs: I'm ready to talk

Alan Curbishley has said that he is prepared to talk to Charlton about a return to The Valley, but admits that the club probably already has someone lined up: Back to the future

Guy Luzon continues to be the name in the frame. According to some reports, the club has already talked to him and a decision could be announced within 48 hours. However, José Riga has also expressed his wish to return to The Valley, having turned down a number of jobs in Belgium: Candidates

Sunday 11 January 2015

Apres moi, le déluge

So, Bob Peeters has gone, but who and what will follow? Rick Everitt gives his views here: After Bob?

Like Rick, I would be happy to see Riga back, but it is more likely to be his assistant. I still think that Guy Luzon is less likely. He is currently 1/4 in the betting, but he was hardly a success at the mother ship. But then Alan Curbishley is 16/1 and there are even odds for Dowie.

The club statement reads: 'Charlton have terminated the contract of Head Coach Bob Peeters with immediate effect, the club can confirm. The contracts of Senior Professional Development Coach Patrick Van Houdt and Performance Analyst Guy Kiala have also been terminated. Peeters signed a 12-month contract at The Valley in the summer and enjoyed a good start to life in the Championship. However, given the recent downturn in results and performances the board felt they had to make a change at this time. The club would like to thank the trio for their efforts and a further statement will be made in due course.'

Whoever comes in really needs the chance to invest in the squad, even though that function is separated from coaching. The squad is too thin.

I also think there is a lot to be said for managerial stability. The two most successful periods in the club's history were under long-serving managers, Jimmy Seed and Alan Curbishley. But new managers do usually bring a short-term boost and at the moment we badly need that.

Football is a game of thin margins and if Henderson had not been injured and Vetokele and other players had not lost form, the pattern of results might have been different. However, we are where we are and I was struck by how subdued the crowd was on Saturday both during and after the match, almost an atmosphere of quiet despair. It looked as if Bob had lost the crowd and that was one reason for moving on.

Saturday 10 January 2015

No birthday cheer for Bob Peeters

There was no birthday cheer for Bob Peeters as Charlton succumbed to a 0-1 defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion at The Valley this afternoon. Peeters said in the programme that there was light at the end of the tunnel, but one fears that it is the train coming the other way (and no longer from Charing Cross).

I tried to buy some luck by getting my Voice of the Valley from Rick Everitt and pushed my way through the throng of admirers (well, actually, Dave from Barnehurst), but it was to no avail. I was surprised to have my ticket checked as I entered the East Stand and even more to be asked if I knew where my seat was, hopefully I do after getting on for twenty years.

The pivotal point of the match was when a shot from Solly rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and the Seagulls then went down the other end and scored, albeit in a well-worked move from a free kick which Etheridge should have dealt with more effectively.

The problem was once again the lack of any cutting edge. Vetokele is clearly out of sorts. When Tucudean went off injured and was replaced by Watt, he at least showed some energy and some nice touches, despite being widely derided before his arrival as a Standard Liege cast off. I also thought that Gudmundsson put in some really good corners, but despite some goalmouth scrambles, we were unable to make anything of these opportunities.

Brighton looked as if they were going for an early goal, but despite some dominance in the early exchanges, were unable to score. We then came into the game a bit more, but all our attempts to mount attacks in the first half lacked pace. Consequently, the momentum of potential opportunities was lost and the Albion were able to mount an effective defence. We showed more pace and determination in the second half, but it didn't bear fruit.

The one bonus was when a notice at Coventry Station said that the car park ticket machine was only accepting notes. I hit the jackpot with more coins pouring out than the five pound note I had tendered.

Player ratings

Etheridge was not impressive, he should have dealt with the goal better and put Bikey in difficulty with a toe poke out earlier on. Bikey gave away a needless free kick from which the Albion scored and looked ponderous at times. Ben Haim got the ball forward well at times, setting up one useful attack, but looked a bit sluggish in defence. It was good to see Wiggins returning. He did get forward well and delivered some good balls into the box. Not surprisingly, he looked tired by the end of the match. If we were still giving silver bones, Chris Solly would have one to add to his substantial collection. He looked our best player. We were concerned when he had to switch to midfield after half time, but he performed his role there well.

It was evident in the first half that Jackson was injured from his running and I am surprised that Bob Peeters started him, but I suppose that it reflects the lack of alternatives. I thought Gudmundsson did well, but an alternative view is that he was 'Below his usual standards, crossing was poor and his corners often going to the first defender. Cousins got involved, managed to maintain his position most of the time and made some useful contributions. Wilson had a simply shocking game.

Vetoekele is a shadow of the player we saw at the beginning of the season. He never threatened, his control was poor and he has clearly lost confidence. Tucadean was a waste of space.

Gomez did well when he came on. Not surprisingly, interest is being shown by bigger clubs but Gomez said in the programme that he intends to stay put as he could get lost at a bigger club. His best development path is at Charlton. Watt was greeted with a chant of 'Watt, Watt, Watt' and looks as if he can do the business. Not clear why Church came on or what he contributed apart from running around a lot, also meant that Vetokele was pushed out wide left which didn't work.

Friday 9 January 2015

Seagulls in confident mood

Brighton and Hove Albion are in confident mood as they prepare to face Charlton at The Valley tomorrow. Chris Hughton will take charge of the Seagulls in the league for the first time this weekend.

The new boss got off to a promising start last Saturday as late goals from Lewis Dunk and Chris O'Grady booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup at the expense of playoff-chasing Brentford. That made it back-to-back victories for the Seagulls after they climbed out of the bottom three with a win over Fulham in their final league match of 2014.

The earlier meeting this season ended as a 2-2 draw at the Amex Stadium in August. Charlton have won only one of the last eight meetings. Their only win since 2009 was 3-2 at The Valley on Boxing Day last season. Brighton have won two of the last four meetings at The Valley, drawing one and losing one.

Charlton have not won any of their last eight games in all competitions, losing four. Their last win was 1-0 at Reading in the Championship on 8 November. The Addicks have not won any of their last six home games in all competitions, losing two. Their last win at The Valley was 2-1 against Bolton in the Championship on 21 October. However, before we get too gloomy, all bad runs eventually come to an end.

Odds are: Charlton, 11/5; Draw, 11/5; Brighton, 13/10.

Peeters in no rush to add to squad

Bob Peeters has said that he is no rush to add to his squad. With players coming back from injury, the squad might not be good enough. He also said that there had been contact with Millwall about Simon Church, but thought that he would stay at The Valley: Good enough squad

The squad may be good enough to avoid relegation, but not to contend for a play off place. What is worrying is the number of players who have lost form since the start of the season, although in Vetokele's case he has been carrying an injury. Only Gudmundsson has really improved since the start of the season and we do miss Henderson in goal. However, exploratory surgery on his shoulder has revealed that the injury is not as bad as feared and he could be back in training in a few weeks.

Thursday 8 January 2015

Mid-season report on Charlton

A mid-season report from Sports Mole give us a B- grade, but is relatively optimistic about our prospects: Mid-Season Report

A lot now depends on whether Tony Watt can overcome the problems that have blighted his career and make a fresh start by scoring some badly needed goals for us.

One Addick commented, 'Watt may be another Francis Jeffers who ended up playing for 13 different sides and apart from his early promise with Everton -his first professional club - he never scored more than 5 goals for any of the other dozen clubs he took up with. I would like to think that Watt being 2 years younger than when Jeffers joined us will realise that he can turn around his career if he really wants to and can fulfil his early promise because being at your 5th club when you are still just 21 is not a great start.'

Until I have seen him play, I remain hopeful.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

New keeper signs

Charlton have made their latest network signing with Marko Dmitrovic joining on an 18-month contract from Ujpest. He is a under 21 international for Serbia. He is seen as competition for Etheridge, with Henderson facing a long spell out injured and Nick Pope off to Bury (Lancashire, that is, not his old club, Bury Town): Network shuffle

Monday 5 January 2015

Millwall interested in Church

Millwall are interested in Simon Church and Charlton are prepared to let him go with the completion of the signing of Tony Watt imminent: Church

I would give Church high marks for trying hard, unfortunately an end product was rarely evident.

Neil Etheridge has signed until the end of the season: Etheridge

Peeters sacking rumour denied

The authoritative Richard Cawley of South London Press has denied on Twitter rumours that Bob Peeters has been sacked and replaced by Guy Luzon.

Luzon resigned as Standard Liege coach last October after disappointing results: Luzon. Installing him at Charlton would give 'network cast off' a whole new meaning. Israeli media are linking him with the vacancy at Maccabi Haifa which sounds a lot more plausible.

It is my view that Bob will be in place for the whole season.

Tired squad have dressing room rows

Andre Bikey has admitted Charlton’s small squad is feeling the effects of a sapping schedule in an interview with Richard Cawley of the South London Press.

Bikey is hoping that reinforcements are drafted in during the January transfer window. “We have got a lot of injuries and players with physical problems,” 'the Beast' told Cawley. “Some players are tired. I’ve already played 27 games and it’s difficult - we’ve got 22 games left. So it’s not easy.

“A new face always makes the squad better. It is not about being fit. Everyone needs a rest, some players play with a physical problem - Igor [Vetokele] is not 100 per cent okay, he has played with that. Igor is only an example. New faces can help us. A different type of player. We don’t have a target man - someone who is 6ft 5ins. Cardiff, Blackburn and other teams have it - we don’t. We need someone who can hold the ball.”

Bikey said: “There were some arguments in the dressing room - it has to happen. The manager has to understand. No-one is happy, we have to try and get a solution. We are in a bad run but there is still a long way to go. I’m not sure Ipswich and Bournemouth are already promoted. We have to keep fighting and try to be on top there.”

Big rail disruption on Saturday

It's a big game on Saturday and we can expect a lot of Brighton fans to be travelling by train, so South-Eastern has ensured that there will be severe disruption of train services to Charlton, with no special service. Full details here: No trains to London Bridge

Sunday 4 January 2015

Looking for a power surge

I wasn't able to get to the cup game yesterday because of family commitments which was probably just as well. Predictably, it has led to calls for 'Peeters out'. The modern game places excessive emphasis on the manager (or the coach in this case). All the evidence shows that changes of managers make a difference, but usually only in the short run, although, of course, that is what football is often all about.

However, one must also look at the players and I think that any coach would have problems with a rather thin squad which is now over reliant on young players, some of whom are well short of Championship standard. Unfortunately, some players who started the season well seem to have lost form, notably Vetokele and Buyens.

In any event, if I understand this regime correctly, they are unlikely to change the coach before the end of the season. What remains to be seen is how many and which players are brought in during the transfer window. I suspect not that many.

One post I saw described yesterday's game as 'one of the most abject performances I have seen from a Charlton team.' Given some of the performances I have seen from Charlton teams over the years, somehow I doubt it. One thing you learn to do as a Charlton fan is to keep your expectations under control. Very few comments have mentioned the other team on the pitch but from what I have heard Blackburn played rather well and that may have had more to do with the result than Charlton's performance.

Next Saturday's game against Brighton is clearly vital, but a concern now is that the negativity of much of the crowd won't give the players the support they need. We might have one new signing by then, but unfortunately he may be too readily dismissed as a Standard Liege 'cast off'.

When I heard the floodlights had gone out, I hoped it might be another Doncaster scenario, but sadly this was not to be the case. It wasn't that someone had forgot to feed the meter, but a 'power surge'. That's what we need on the pitch, but I am not too hopeful.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Crowd will kill Watt if he doesn't do the business

Charlton fans demand honest players and the Charlton crowd will kill him if he doesn't do the business says Bob Peeters. The Charlton coach thinks that he will have no difficulty in handling the player: Tony Watt

Friday 2 January 2015

The financial benefits of a Cup run

An interesting article from the CAS Trust on the financial benefits of a Cup run which are quite substantial for a club like ours: Cup finances

Mind you, I wouldn't hold out too much hope of a run. I suspect we may be in for another draw tomorrow.

Odds are: Charlton 2/1; Draw 9/4; Blackburn 11/8.